NEWS AND UPDATE


CNF NEW CULTURAL PORTAL PROJECT

Culture Network Foundation (CNF) is launching an initiative to collect information about Thailand’s culture, traditions, festivals and recreation. This compilation of knowledge and resources will be known as the Thailand Culture Portal (English version). “To become a valuable knowledge for future generations, we are consulting local/community experts who know their culture best about sharing unique ways of life with broader publics. There will be numerous field surveys to administer, veryify and write up,” says Nanticha Nuraruk, Program Director. “International volunteers will be needed to write and edit articles and check grammar, since English is not the native language. Doing this is a great way for foreigners to learn about our culture,” says Nanticha. CNF is searching for financial support for this on-going project. Individuals or organizations wishing to grant funding should contact Nanticha.

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THOUSANDS OF BURMESE IMMIGRANTS ARRIVE THAILAND EVERYDAY

After the cyclone Nargis in May, the usual number of Burmese immigrants doubled. Nargis was the worst natural disaster in Burma's history (Burma is also known as Myranmar). Nothing was left at home, adding impetus to go to Thailand in search of better jobs and living conditions. Rapid economic growth in Thailand is a magnet for migrant laborers from poorer neighboring countries.

Then reality sets in. Workers from Myanmar take jobs Thais consider too dirty, dangerous or demeaning. They are routinely exploited, paid well below Thai wages to work long hours in unhealthy conditions.

Several months after the cyclone, the Culture Network Foundation took on the challenge— helping the Burmese children with education to acquire skills needed in the workplace.

An existence of searching for food in rubbish must not be allowed to continue. Too many become prostitutes and thieves. To make matters worse, many give birth in Thailand, an extra burden for the adults and worsened conditions for the children. It is estimated that more than 10,000 Burmese children are in Ranong province alone. Overall, the more than 150,000 Burmese in Ranong province constitute about 2/3 of the population.

The Culture Network project will start with 15-50 children to be schooled in languages, cultural activities and work skills. Local people have offered to teach. Land in the midst of Burmese settlements has already been rented. The 1.5 acres with an old building is in Baan Ngaow, a village about 16 km from Ranong City. Ranong is on Thailand’s western coast about 460 kilometers (290 miles) from Bangkok. The monsoon-prone province (eight months a year) borders Myanmar for 169 kms.

The building needs repair. Desks and school materials are sought. Funds are needed. International volunteers are being recruited. To help please

By Linda Quinet

burmese immigrantburmese schoo;burmese2burmese migrant

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INDIGINOUS CULTURAL FAIR

Thailand is one of many nations in the world with significant cultural diversity, due to its populations of indiginious people of varied ethnicity. These people possess unique indentities, languages, cultures and social surroundings, which differ considerably from the lowland Thai.

The "Indiginous Peoples in Thailand Day 2007" held on 5-11 September 2007 at the Cultural Arts Center, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai is intended not only to promote indiginous knowledge and wisdom but also
to reflect and present problem associated with the situation about indeginous peoples that must endeavored to fight for their unique lifestyle and identities within the larger socirty. Yet the fair is also organised as to keeping up with United Nation's declaration of 9 August " Internation Day of Indiginous Peoples".

This indiginous cultural fair considers to be the first cerebration and recognition toward several groups of indiginous people in the north of Thailand. A number of activities were conducted to promote and attract visitors from all over country plus academic seminar also took place during the festival. Various indiginous musicians were perform their unique music along with their traditional dancing styles. Colorful customs and thousand of smiles from over ten groups of indiginous created fantastic ambiances all around the fair.

A large number of indiginous organisations were showcase and present information regarding facts and realities of IPs on various themes, such as traditional knowledge and wisdom in natural resource environments, food production and sustainable agriculture were also displayed for visitors.

indiginous indiginous fairlocal festival

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HUNDRED OF GIANT CATFISH RELEASED

Hundred of baby Giant Catfish (Pangasianodon gigas) were released along the bank of Mekong River in the village of Chiang Khong early this month by a President of Culture Network Foundation, Pornpen Payakkaporn and a Secretary General, Akkapon Payakkaporn. It was probably the world largest Giant Catfish released for the number.

The Giant Catfish, the largest fresh water fish on earth that can only be found along the banks of the Mekong River may reach a maximum size of three meters in length and 350kg in weight. This is why the Giant Catfish or locally known as “Pla Buek” are called the King of Mekong River due to its enormous size.

However, its numbers have been steadily dropping for decades until 2001 when non fishermen could even land one Pla Buek compared to more than hundred caught in one season many years earlier. Fortunately, no fish have been captured in the area since then thanks to Thai and Laotian fishermen agreement to stop hunting even though it’s their tradition for a long time and they were given a compensation of Bt 20,000 each. Also this giant catfish was listed in the World Conservation Union in 2003 as an endangered species.

“Mainly giant catfish were prepared for tourists and locals to taste as belief to impart wisdom. Also its oily taste makes the flavor differ from other kinds of fish and that is why people enjoy eating Pla Buek,” said Pornpen

“It is a local way of life,” added Akkapon, “those who live near water mainly became fishermen and feed themselves by what they caught. But since they have realized about a number of giant catfish left in the area they agreed to stop fishing them.”

Even though we can breed Pla Buek in farms around the area to sale to local restaurants but it does not mean a number of fish is increasing.

“That’s why I bought these giant catfish almost the entire farm only left few for them to ensure that the breeding program can goes on, and released them back to the wild,” said Pornpen. “It took several trucks and many long tail boats to carry these fish to the released spot.”

It is a first time that someone bought these giant catfish to released, normally we only sale them to restaurants according to giant catfish farm’ owner.

“Many fishermen were join these released and they all seem to be extremely happy as it was a good sign that the King of Mekong River is back.”

“Also it is a long belief that releasing fish will bring luck to life,” Akkapon added. “and they will never catch these fish again as it will bring back all the bad luck”

catfish giant catfish released thai culture release fishdoing good

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LANNA HANDICRAFT FESTIVAL

Not many chances that Bangkokian had the real Lanna experience in middle of the town like this. With good attempted cooperation from several sources to support the folk wisdom inheritance, the Siam Heritage Hotel, Bangkok hosted the first real Lanna Handicraft Exhibition ever. The unique charm of the Lanna art forms was transformed by many top recognized Lanna Artists (Sara - in Thai). At the exhibition, many modern Lanna Handicrafts made from woods, clays and was definitely express a lot of power touching audiences’ soul.

lanna festivallanna art

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FIRST CUTURAL VOLUNTEER GROUP ARRIVED RANONG

Volunteering in a remote village is rather difficult for many who have never experienced and lived in the area. It is even more difficult when coming from different cultures or a more modern technoogical advanced society.

Baan Talay Nork Village, an isolated small fishing village along the Andaman coast, southern Thailand had a great opportunity to welcome groups of university student from Canada and the USA during the month of June and July this year. Besides receiving cultural orientation from the staff members of Culture Network Foundation, these inspiring young students had opportunity to take Thai language lessons and participated in discussion concerning environmental issues of the area.

Most important of all, they had opportunities to initiate many rewarding activities with school children and villagers including school teaching, village culture events as well as many environmental concerned projects. The high international profile of the project and the unusual blend of backgrounds, indeed, gave them really valuable experience to be more open minded and look at problems from different points of view. A memorable and an interesting experience that the classroom can never provide.

If you are interested in joining this project please feel free to contact us at info@culturenetworks.org for more information

culture volunteer

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CULTURAL FIESTA FESTIVAL IN JAPAN

The Cultural Fiesta Committee together with The Student Committee of Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University are proud to present “Cultural Fiesta ~ Ha・go・ro・mo~,” one of the biggest Cultural Festival ever in Oita, Japan which will hold on this coming June 30, 2006.

“Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University” or “APU” is an international University located in Oita Prefecture, Japan. Under the name of “Asia Pacific University”, there are students from over 70 countries gathering, learning and sharing each culture’ ideas, making this University the most culturally diverse University in Japan.

In order to deep a mutual understanding about country’s cultures, APU supports students from each countries to hold an event called “Language Week”. Students from countries like Thailand, Indonesian, Spain, China, Korea, Vietnam etc. create activities, performances, and exhibitions to represent their own cultures during their weeks every year.

In this year, one group of students realized that APU should have an event which can represent image of “international University”, or they call “Very APU Event”. They decided to set up the “Cultural Fiesta Committee” to arrange the “Cultural Fiesta” event.

“Cultural Fiesta ~ Ha・go・ro・mo ~ Shall we travel around the world?”, the story will be about brother and sister travel around the world with Hagoromo or an angle robe of feather, which is cited from Japanese old tale. Along the way of their journeys, they will meet with a lot of people from over 20 countries such as Thailand, Brazil, Papua New Guinea, Tanzania, India, and Estonia etc. Let’s enjoy with various performances and fashion show and make unforgettable memory with “Cultural Fiesta~Hagoromo~”.

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TSUNAMI SURVEY UPDATED

Anyaporn and her team were on site survey to observe and collect the information from the Tsunami victims in Phuket, Phang-Nga, and Ranong for her upcoming mental recovery project last week. 

“Nine months after the Tsunami hit the southern part of Thailand, there is still more than 1,000 people to suffer the mental anguish,” said Anyaporn.

Anyaporn’s team flow direct from Japan to actual paid close attention to this serious situation. Her plan is to use the culture as a healing tool. To exchange a culture between Japanese volunteers whose ever experience the Tsunami and Thai victims is the ideal. Then they can join the activity to create the warm and relationship which will make the victim feel more release.

“We were lucky to met Mr. Tuksin Shinawat, the Prime Minister of Thailand, on our last observation day,” Anyaporn said.

“He was discussed with local about the best solution to bring tourists back to the area so the employment will occur to awake the economic in the area. Local then will start to live their life again,” she said.  

Not only will a group of volunteers help the local to come over their mental illness by sharing unique traditional way of living but also will promote Thailand as a place to visit when they returned home.

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